My America: An Owner’s Guide by William E. White | 152 pages | $19.95
The Idea of America: Our Values, Our Legacy, Our Future by John Oliver Wilson | 168 pages | $25
Order at SHOP.COLONIALWILLIAMSBURG.COM
“The Idea of America” began as a digital program for high schoolers, examining American history through the prism of eight values Americans share — freedom and equality, unity and diversity, private wealth and common wealth, law and ethics. The program explores how these values and the tensions between them have played out through history.
That approach to history and civics has now been adapted in two books, one aimed at late elementary and middle schoolers and the other at adult learners.
My America: An Owner’s Guide by William E. White asks kids to think about what it means to be an American. Who are “We the People”? How have Americans shaped their own history? Filled with kid-friendly stories and art, My America shows children that they can make a difference in their schools and ultimately in their communities and Nation.
White joined Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums in 1965 as a fifth-grader and retired as a vice president in 2016 after leading the Foundation’s media and educational outreach initiative.
The Idea of America: Our Values, Our Legacy, Our Future by John Oliver Wilson uses primary documents to explore how individuals have expanded America’s founding values to be more inclusive and shows how these documents and values relate to current issues. The book is the primary resource for a nationwide program — the Idea of America Network — aimed at adult learners and college, university and high school students. Jeffrey Edleson, dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, has called the book “a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of American society.”
Wilson is an economist whose career has spanned finance, academics and government. He is a member of the Foundation’s President’s Council.